[ExI] power satellites

Tom Nowell nebathenemi at yahoo.co.uk
Fri Dec 19 20:21:56 UTC 2008

To answer Keith's point:
> How do you answer Dr. David MacKay's flat out statement
> that *no*
> combination of small solutions will replace fossil fuels?

I took a look at David MacKay's book (read the 10 page synopsis thoroughly, skimmed the book). He makes the comment "Someone who wants to live on renewable energy, but expects the infrastructure associated with that renewable not to be large or intrusive, is deluding himself." In his six energy plans for the UK, he includes a "green" one that forswears nuclear and "clean coal" - but it involves *massive* use of wind turbines taking up space everywhere. So, MacKay is not ruling an all-renewable future.

 The "small solutions" MacKay is talking about are all the current modest government initiatives on the books and many minor energy efficiency tips circulated by the media. All of MacKay's plans for energy rely on electrifying 90% of transport and 25% reduction in energy used to hear homes.

Keith's recommendation of the 2nd best solution to energy needs (after solar power satellites) being many thousands of nuclear reactors - well, that meshes with MacKay's analysis that the *most economical* solution involving *currently proven* technology involves producing 63% of electricity by nuclear fission. Nuclear is the economist's choice
To answer another of Keith's points:
> Or Dr. Guy McPherson's comment:
> "I was a firm believer in solar, wind, and geothermal
> energy until a
> few years ago, and I still believe they will help
> individuals. But no
> combination of these "renewable" technologies
> will make a notable
> difference at the level of 300 million Americans, much less
> the 6.5
> people in the world.
 You may have me on the 300 million Americans. The other 6.2 billion people can have a significant proportion of their energy provided by renewables, with the gap filled by nuclear or the currently unproven "clean coal". The average American's daily energy consumption is so massive in comparison to anyone else on the planet it sometimes makes you wonder how the US manages it currently, let alone in a world of gas & oil shortages. It would take a lot of work on improving US energy efficiency to make any long-term plan work, unless massive new sources can be produced (such as nuclear fusion or solar power satellites).

(at this point I stop typing and ponder for a few minutes)
OK, I have to concede - as a method for allowing the USA to continue existing with a lifestyle similar to it's current one, solar power satellite tech is much closer to reality than nuclear fusion if someone is willing to make a massive funding commitment. Alerting the US public and government to the fact that massive steps need to be taken if the US isn't to suffer greatly is a worthwhile use of time.



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